Diesel was a lively 8 year old Siberian husky who loved life! After some gradual weight loss, it got to one weekend and his family noticed there was something strange! He wasn’t interested in his food (which wasn’t like Diesel at all) and when he went outside to spend a penny they noticed his urine was bright red.
Now extremely worried, they phoned the Towcester surgery and were advised to bring him straight down to the surgery to see Sophie the vet.
The initial consultation with Sophie revealed that Diesel was pyrexic (had a high temperature) and on palpating the abdomen she could feel a large mass present. This prompted further tests to figure out what was going on with poor Diesel so he was admitted for blood tests, imaging and fluids to keep him hydrated.
Bloods were taken for biochemistry which measured various different enzymes in the blood (indicating problems with internal organs such as kidneys, liver or pancreas) and haemotology which look at the level of different cells in the actual blood (white blood cells are usually a marker of inflammation and infection whilst red blood cells carry oxygen around the body and too few of these result in anaemia)
His haematology results indicated he had a very low PCV (Packed cell volume or percentage of red blood cells to plasma) of 23%. This was a worryingly low amount considering a normal PCV should be 37-55%. A urine sample was also taken and spun down, which revealed that the urine contained haemoglobin (Hemoglobinuria happens in cases of the rupturing of red blood cells which release their cytoplasm into the surrounding fluid). These two indicators are commonly seen in splenic conditions that cause the organ to rupture such as certain types of tumours or torsions (where the spleen becomes twisted around its blood vessels)
An ultrasound was taken straight away and confirmed that free fluid was throughout his abdominal cavity. Sophie carried out an abdomen tap (placing a small needle into the abdomen to retrieve abnormal fluid for analysis). Unfortunately for Diesel this fluid was blood! He was bleeding internally and meant that surgery was now his only chance of survival.
Sophie entered into theatre with Diesel late on Saturday night to start the procedure of removing the spleen (Splenectomy). The spleen has a tremendous blood supply and is a reservoir for red blood cells so it requires a very skilled hand to remove it. Using high tech Suction apparatus to empty the abdomen of the free fluid and our electrocautery unit, Sophie gradually ligated and tied of vessels until the whole tumour had been removed!
After a long and intricate procedure Diesel was sent to our recovery kennels to receive intensive care from our nursing team overnight.
It turns out this brave boy was quite the fighter! He actually went home the next day, a little tired but doing very well. Over the next couple of weeks he came back in for regular checks on his PCV to ensure his red blood cell levels were increasing. We are pleased to say that he is doing just fine and as you can tell from the photo he has definitely got his smile back!